Beggars review by Thrice

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Aug 11, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 9.5 (85 votes)
Thrice: Beggars
0

Sound — 7
Thrice are an evolutionary band, one who probably couldn't repeat an album if they tried, so I'll begin with a disclaimer: change is easy to accept with Thrice but it takes a significant amount of time for their music to expand and blossom in your mind. You may remember my unending praise for their last work, The Alchemy Index' (though I am clearly not a Thrice fan for giving their live album a 6.5/10, thanks guys), but something about the hurriedly-released new effort Beggars' didn't rub me the right way on the first listen. It seemed to have taken the mature' route one step too far at the expense of the sort of large-scale majesty fans are used to hearing, and ended up as the sort of music that is far more fun to play than it is to listen to. Of course, digging deeper is a necessity if you are to find out where a new Thrice album fits alongside their others, and this time you might have to trade your shovel for something a little more substantial; not for the hunting of hidden treasures as was the case with Vheissu' or The Alchemy Index', but to find what gives the album a place amongst those hallowed halls. Through their ever-appreciated studio blogs and videos, the band gave fans some ideas in advance of what the album might sound like by saying they were trying to give Beggars' a more energetic, heavy sound after the sleepy' feel of the last two albums. Nobody could be blamed for interpreting this as a way of saying it would be a return to roots' album, but The Illusion Of Safety' Pt. 2 this is not. In fact, in places it's just as mellow as any of their other recent albums, if not more so. The difference is mostly made by drummer Riley Breckenridge who pins down the clean guitars and whimsical vocals with distinctive beats which perhaps try a little too hard to put snare hits in unconventional places. These tracks carry the feel of a rock n roll recording themselves through the transparent and unglamorous production, but the heavier, faster songs put that across musically too; Talking Through Glass' and All The World Is Mad' have been gritted with the salt of the blues but immediately the mind begins sketching links to The Artist In The Ambulance' in their sense of urgency. Despite the band-in-practice-space method of songwriting, the guitar work in particular sounds almost like the Earth' disc would have if it had been written for the standard rock band. On the topic of the rock band', the organic sound of the album can also be attributed to the surprising absence of instruments outside of that setup; there's minimal tinkering outside of the occasional keyboard or shaker and that keeps proceedings simple, as was the intention.

Lyrics — 7
The highly self-contained nature of The Alchemy Index' wiped Thrice's musical and lyrical slates clean in terms of what might come next, but the restrictions of the four elements helped Dustin Kensrue write some deeply moving and beautifully written lyrics and his total freedom this time has left the lyrics somewhat mundane in comparison. The August 11th release date is a response to a leak and is only for the digital version, so there are no pages from which Dustin's words can spring, but even when listening lines and phrases don't often jump out of the track, Circles' being a fine exception. Maybe it's the dull artwork, but the majority of the songs don't strike me as being particularly appealing in a literary way, and that limits how well the songs' messages can really be heard and understood. Those messages vary from the stockpiled (All The World Is Mad', Doublespeak') to the fresh and compelling (Beggars', Circles') but as always Kensrue's natural linguistic flair means everything works nicely so the best ideas are written out to their fullest and the least inspiring topics are always worth listening to, at least. The biggest surprise about Beggars' in the vocal department is the fact that it is the first Thrice album ever to feature absolutely no screaming whatsoever. That influence can be heard in the growly inflection on songs like At The Last' but unfortunately the music just doesn't call for his domineering roars as it never reaches that level of intensity. Most of Kensrue's singing is in part an extension of his performances on the Earth' disc and his solo folk album, Please Come Home' and this compliments the guitar parts of Teppei Teranishi and Kensrue himself excellently. Sadly, not all of the softer songs on the album have been given strong and memorable melodies which leaves them as indicators only of their potential, and not their perfection.

Overall Impression — 7
The term thinking man's music' is the sort which is generally seen to be positive as egos can flourish under the guise of the thinking man', but in this case the term applies in a different way. It's a good album to take in and analyse, but cannot just be put on and felt from start to finish as an experience. Highlights like The Weight' and In Exile' are truly wonderful but some of the other songs are a little too dreary to keep things interesting and collectively don't have enough impetus to flesh out the whole album. Since that first listen my view of the album has been through many different stages, I've dug into each corner and every aspect of the sound and I've searched for a full understanding which puts Beggars' up there with the band's best work but it hasn't been found yet. Hopefully in time things will begin to unfold but the truth of this record can't be that far-removed from its face value; a good album, for what it is, which has some great songs but is ultimately a disappointment.

51 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ratracekid111
    your "clearly not a thrice fan" because you abused the album leak instead of waiting for it to be officially released and buying a real copy
    lllostmotelll
    I'm going to comment again in retort to those who think that Thrice needs to stick to one sound: Music is not like marriage (as someone said above). You don't have to be faithful to your sound from record to record. I probably wouldn't still be a fan of literally every band I still listen to if they continued to release records that had the overall same sound. It doesn't make sense for an artist to do that. The best thing about Thrice is that they continue to surprise me with the increased amount of depth they can put into music. You can say that Beggars sounds a little flat compared to their other music, but I will strongly disagree with you. Music doesn't have to be loud or filled with noise all over the place in order to have substance. To me, Beggars has more substance in each track alone than most music out there nowadays, and that is comparative to the genre they were lumped into during The Artist and the Ambulance era. To paraphrase: some bands never change. I'm thankful Thrice does. Their music evolves, and so does my opinion of them (for the better).
    IRFLAMZEZ
    Firebreather, rawest song ever! Might give this one a listen on account of that
    ratmblink123
    Shakalum wrote: It's time for them to pick a sound.
    Agreed. Haven't listened to the album, just the previews on iTunes, but I miss the old stuff...
    jmh886
    oth_17 wrote: this album is nonsense. just like alchemy and vheissu. this non screaming/experimental garbage just doesnt do it for me. this type of music isnt what caught my ear and got me interested in them. i dont understand this unbreakable allegiance that some people have with bands. the truth of the matter is that bands do change and when they want to "evolve", they should change their name to something else and start over. its misleading. your gonna tell me that their artist in the ambulance album is worse than alchemy and beggars? no its not, its uber awesome. afi did it with december underground, atreyu did it with that last piece of trash they released, and trivium did it with the crusade. therre are countless other bands that have "evolved" into garbage. if i wanted to hear garbage like this id listen to three o three!
    got i hate fans like you. "Non screaming/experimental garbage"? So good music has to include screaming and has to sound like everything else. Why the hell would a band change its name just because some douche only like their old stuff? Theyre still the same musicians playing together for the same purpose. The only time a band should change its name is if the entire members change. How many bands have had the same sound their entire career and been successful? Not many. And if they do it gets pretty old and uncreative after a while. Open your mind and listen to more music. I dont think this is Thrice's best work, but its damn good.
    Nybb
    Wow, how can people say that their older stuff was better? It's catchy and fun for a while but it gets old fast and it all kind of blends into itself. It was really quite generic. It used the cookie cutters really well, but it still used them. Thrice from Vheissu onwards has just been getting more and more amazing. Their music has been maturing, to point where there is now so much depth in each and every song, and something that actually stands out from the crowd. Beggars, like their other albums since Vheissu, just keeps growing on me the more I listen to it. Which is a lot, because it is a damn good album. It is so raw and honest, with great lyrics and also the sound is surprisingly good for how stripped down it is. The lack of overproduction makes it feel like the band is there playing in front of you.
    uberphreak
    Nybb wrote: Wow, how can people say that their older stuff was better? It's catchy and fun for a while but it gets old fast and it all kind of blends into itself. It was really quite generic. It used the cookie cutters really well, but it still used them. Thrice from Vheissu onwards has just been getting more and more amazing. Their music has been maturing, to point where there is now so much depth in each and every song, and something that actually stands out from the crowd. Beggars, like their other albums since Vheissu, just keeps growing on me the more I listen to it. Which is a lot, because it is a damn good album. It is so raw and honest, with great lyrics and also the sound is surprisingly good for how stripped down it is. The lack of overproduction makes it feel like the band is there playing in front of you.
    I agree completely. Their old stuff is done well but it had been done before. Vheissu is a goddamned masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, and everything since has been pretty superb. I have yet to hear the new one but I'm excited.
    uberphreak
    And sorry for the double post, but all of you trying to define what a "real fan" is, gtfo. Seriously, who are you to judge? Some people like the old stuff which is fine, some people like the new stuff which is fine, and some people like it all, which is the category I belong to. I, personally, like the new stuff a BIT more just because of how unique and epic it is. I enjoy when a band moves forward and tries different things with their sound rather than putting out album after album of the same thing. Some bands pull it off well by changing styles but not sound (such as Lamb of God) but a lot of bands end up getting boring and samey.
    ibanez949
    You know, I wonder what would've happened if the Beatles never changed their sound and kept with the poppy 50's music, or if Michael Jackson never left the Jackson 5, or if Beethoven kept writing in the classical tradition, or if Pink Floyd didn't go from trippy soundscapes to structured rock tunes... Change the name of the band? I bet you got picked on in high school...
    THEAK47
    I completely agree with the earlier post about Illusion of Safety. It has some really good songs like Deadbolt and Kill Me Quickly, but ultimately it sounded like a lot of hardcore bands out there and didn't have much substance. With every album that comes out from these guys I get more and more amazed that they used to sound the way they used to. I give them a lot of respect because while what they do is not exactly popular in the eyes of all their fans, but the musicianship from these guys from album to album seems to constantly grow and I wonder when it will ever peak.
    kperry913
    This album is ridiculous. Thrice hasn't had a good album since The Artist in the Ambulance. Vheissu was a joke. I threw away The Alchemy Index and I wouldn't accept Beggars if someone tried to give it to me. It's just depressing to see a band go down this road. This band is proving to be inconsistent from making amazing songs like Ultra Blue, Phoenix Ignition, and In Years to come to the garbage that they've been putting out. They are abandoning their punk roots for this experimental crap.
    oth_17
    basically you all think anything thrice does is good. they could play a song with one note for five minutes and you would call it amazing and their best work yet. you dont have to like everything they do just because its thrice. im not saying a band cant change a little bit but the drastic changes that they have made make them a completely different band. when they come out with a rap album will you say the same thing....wait thats ridiculous right? progression has its limits. OH AND IBANEZ949 YOU PROBABLY LOOK LIKE THE FAT SLOB ON THE WORLD OF WARCRAFT EPISODE OF SOUTH PARK.
    Thriced
    love thrice's new album.. they deserve alot of respect for it... don't really like this review but.... not everyone likes the same things... and it wont change any thrice fans opinion on their music so it doesnt really matter. give the album a few more listens hey?
    sbinlb
    i like the new album but dont really get the thrice feel to it, but it is still very good even if it is like im listening to a different band.
    Epoch777
    Did oth_17 just say 'Progression has its limits'? I think we found our village idiot.
    FarFromDead
    hmm, I first discovered Thrice when artist came out, I loved that album to the point where I played it soo much that I couldnt listen to it for about a year lol. Then It got me interested in the older stuff, Illusion of safety and identity crisis... Both incredible. Then vheissu came about, at first it rubbed me the wrong way, but in time it really grew on me I was a huge thrice fan. When alchemy index came out, I was confused, to this day I still cannot get into that album. Musically its good, but its such a boring listen it often puts me to sleep. Im excited about this release, not all music needs screaming to be good, and I like variety, but its hard to follow thrice when they are constantly changing. To some that is the best thing a band can do, but I think they need to stay within a range instead of bouncing so much. From what ive heard tho, im pretty excited about this one. They are great musicians whether anyone likes what they are doing or not.
    sabio
    I don't know why I am even getting involved in an internet argument, but I am going to. First of all I want to address parts of the review. While I do respect the writer's opinion and believe that he is entitled to say what he wants about the album, I disagree with several parts of it. The comment he said about Riley's drumming seems to be untrue. The author writer says that he puts snare hits in places that are trying to hard to be unconventional, but relative to past albums, The Artist in the Ambulance and Alchemy Index for example, the snares are fairly regular. For the most part the snare is hit primarily on the third beat and in drum fills, which are actually standard places to put a snare hit. I also have to disagree about Dustin's lyrics. The reviewer comments that the lyrics are not appealing in a "literary way" but my first impression was almost the exact opposite. I personally saw his lyrics more as poems set to music than lyrics. I know the difference seems negligible, but I feel that a lot of times musician will write lyrics because they fit the music well. This seems as if Dustin wrote some (incredible) poems and then the band crafted the music around those lyrics. Anyway, maybe just me. But check out the lyrics to All the World is Mad, for example. Take note of the meter and rhyme scheme. There are subtleties to it that you may not have caught. Look at how ("canned" and "hands") rhyme as well as ("greed" "deed") and ("again" "sin") and ("pits" "iniqu(ities)"). It isn't easy to write lyrics that have the meaning as well as the literary quality that Dustin's do on this album. On to the old/new Thrice debate. How can you compare them? They are not the same at all. You can compare Illusion of Safety to Identity Crisis because they are the same style, genre, type of music. But to try and compare one of those albums to this one or Vheissu or TAI would be like comparing The Ramones to Bach. Thrice was incredible at the old post-hardcore and punk and they are incredible at the experimental rock. The two styles are great, but not the same. If you choose to limit yourself to only one or two genres, you will certainly miss out on a bunch of great music. Don't get duped into thinking that only one style of music can be good. Final note. The thing that I love about Thrice is that they didn't write this music to please you. They wrote the music because they love music and love expressing themselves through it, whether others like the way they do it or not. I liked the album. There are songs that I as almost overwhelmed by and others that I didn't connect with as well, but I am definitely leaving my mind open for them to grow on me.
    sabio
    A quote I found from Teppei to support my statement: It's always nice when people can listen to your music for what it is, without any expectations that they might want to impress upon your music. Often times, I think people have it backwards when it comes to listening to music. Maybe it's just cause I'm a musician, but music to me is someone else's art that they're sharing with me. Not something that was written in order to please me. It's the artist's creation, they're just sharing it with me. It doesn't matter one speck what I wanted the art to be or what I think it should be. It's not mine. There's an AMAZING photographer (maybe deceased now?) named W Eugene Smith, and I found a really sweet quote by him the other day: "An artist must be ruthlessly selfish." So true. If we don't write music for ourselves, then it's not real. http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.p... 2&page=30
    sabio
    And one from Dustin as well: Originally Posted by babyg703 After hearing bits and pieces of each song the first time I heard the new album, I was not sure if I liked it or not but then I just kept listening and listening and eventually couldn't stop. This album is AMAZING!!! I was wonder... With going in the direction you did for the Alchemy Index albums why you chose this route in not putting out another album with the hard sound that The Artist In The Ambulance has? I'm glad that you gave it a chance. In my opinion, everyone should without final judgement on a record until you've heard it at least 10 times. Especially if it's from a band you already like. http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.p... e=46
    sabio
    ahh my bad that was the question to which he responded: As far as doing a record like Artist, it would have to be a very contrived effort, which we aren't interest in making and I doubt most people would be interested in hearing. That album came from the same place as this one did: our love for making music. It's never been about pleasing someone else and the minute it was this band would self-destruct and or start hating being in a band. I've seen it happen. It's not pretty. I won't say we will never write a really heavy song again, but I will definitely say that we won't write a really heavy song because someone is asking us too. Honesty is our policy
    Macabre Lullaby
    oth_17 wrote: this album is nonsense. just like alchemy and vheissu. this non screaming/experimental garbage just doesnt do it for me. this type of music isnt what caught my ear and got me interested in them. i dont understand this unbreakable allegiance that some people have with bands. the truth of the matter is that bands do change and when they want to "evolve", they should change their name to something else and start over. its misleading. your gonna tell me that their artist in the ambulance album is worse than alchemy and beggars? no its not, its uber awesome. afi did it with december underground, atreyu did it with that last piece of trash they released, and trivium did it with the crusade. therre are countless other bands that have "evolved" into garbage. if i wanted to hear garbage like this id listen to three o three!
    Okay, even if I don't share your opinion, I was at least following it up until the 3OH!3 comparison. Seriously. Where'd that even come from? I think it's a shame when people think a band have to be married to a certain kind of sound. "Evolution" of a band isn't really something that they just one day up and decide to do, it's a natural progression. Some people just can't do the same thing for years and years on end without getting tired of it, and I don't blame them. In a band's formative years they're just making music that they love and want to perform at that point in time, not creating a set-in-stone blueprint for the rest of their career. Art just doesn't work that way. And as for all the "true fan" talk people are throwing around, I that's completely unjustified. If someone loves a certain phase of a band's career SO much that they can't accept a change, can anyone really say that they don't like them as much? Fans of music, and people in general, come in all different types, and you can't honestly expect everyone to love a band the exact same way. Here's how I like to look at it: If a band releases new material that people think is "shitty", it doesn't make their old material any worse. So just listen to the old stuff, the stuff you like. If you're bored enough of it that you feel you HAVE to rely on new material (which let you down), then it can't really have been that great. And...that's my rant. I didn't really intend to go on that much. XD Anyway, I'm gonna hold out for the physical release before I give this one a listen. I'm sure I'll like it though. I like most things. I'm not really critical enough, but at least that way I almost always end up happy.
    ratracekid111
    ratracekid111 wrote: your "clearly not a thrice fan" because you abused the album leak instead of waiting for it to be officially released and buying a real copy
    i apologize, i didnt know they changed the release date. kudos on a speedy review
    -tempest-
    im gunna wait and buy the hardcopy of the cd before i make any judgements.
    RikkiTikkiTavi
    they always evolving. it doesnt hit u at first, but it is a well crafted album. and im glad they bring out an album almost every year, its not like we've been waiting 3 years for this.
    pwninator123
    It's digital release only, until September 15th, cuz some fool had to leak it. Physical release has 5 bonus tracks though XD and a cover of Helter Skelter by The Beatles
    loxer
    I'd say this is the best album Thrice has released so far.
    axlanian
    I completely agree with this review. It's kind of sad, I wanted it to be SO great, but... meh.
    lllostmotelll
    tl;dr alert The way this review was written makes it seem like the reviewer only listened to the album once or twice maybe before writing. Here's my opinion: Sure, some music takes a single listen and you are able to convey your opinion, however, others take a few listens to really paint a picture that a listener can be ready to grasp. I listened to the leak, I'll admit, and despite the Vagrant Records voice-over on ever track, I was still able to enjoy the album for what it was, until I ultimately removed it from my hard drive so I can listen to it how it was meant to be listened to. Upon listening for the first time, though, I didn't know what to think. I thought "okay, this is different. Not bad at all." The second time I listened to it, I thought something completely different than what I thought at first. It was more of a "Wow, this really shows me Thrice is on the right track. Very good album". Third, fourth, fifth time through, I changed my opinion every time, until I finally came to this consensus: "This is not Thrice's best work by any means, but this is a damn good album, and is far better than a lot of shit being put out as an excuse for music right now." Because let's face it, when you heard "The Illusion Of Safety" for the first time, you probably thought "holy shit, this is a damn good record. They better stay on this course." But they didn't, did they? They got heavier. They released "The Artist In The Ambulance" and got heavier, and in my opinion, even better. Then came "Vheissu", which included my departure of my attention to the band for a while. Their songs from that album didn't grasp me enough at the time of my need for really really heavy music. Thankfully I came to my senses when I started to expand my musical horizons, and at a Brand New headliner, Thrice was supporting, and turned my attention back to them. It was my first Thrice show, and upon leaving, I knew it wouldn't be my last. I got the entire Alchemy Index and loved it. So different, yet so amazing. Songwriting at its finest. So when I turn to "Beggars" again, I look at the road that started with "The Illusion Of Safety" for me. I look at the music they created back then, and I look at the music they are releasing today, and I know for a fact I could fool someone who has never listened to Thrice by playing a track from each album and ask them if they thought it was the same band. I'm sure they'd say "no". But isn't that one of the best things about Thrice? They can take a completely alternate and conflicting route with their music than most artists would ever be willing to take, yet still keep fans like me. Fans who can honestly say that they aren't any less impressed by this album than they were when they first heard Thrice.
    Co&Ca11
    I love this album, one of the best things about Thrice is that they are constantly changing and evolving.
    duncang
    lllostmotelll, you pretty much paraphrased my review. The only difference is you liked the album more than I did.
    Blanco
    In my opinion The artist in the ambulance was the best album, identity and illusion are both amazing albums but they just didnt quite flow as well as artist. Dont get me wrong the other albums are all good but i dont think they stand up to them 3. Real fans stand by thrice but are all still attracted by the heavy hitting songs more than the new stuff.
    Unourrit01
    downloading leaked music is completely okay as long as you buy the cd when it comes out.
    turbo474
    You guys must hear something in Vheissu that I don't, because if I were to rank the Thrice albums, Vheissu would be at the bottom, no questions asked.
    pigmaggots
    ratracekid111 wrote: your "clearly not a thrice fan" because you abused the album leak instead of waiting for it to be officially released and buying a real copy
    what a joke. he's not a thrice fan if he downloads it then doesn't go buy it but maybe he's like me...so excited that he just can't wait.
    kanevaughn
    ok for those who agree with this review or do not like this album are not thrice fans. Ive been listening to thrice since First Impressions and their music has gotten better every album. They have not put out a disappointing album ever, even dusins 2 albums(Please come home, Ursus Veritas) were great. even though ursus veritus was just an acoustic show to promote please come home. But like one guy said above me, you cant listen to it once then make a decision. Thats how alot of their albums are. and you say that they shouldve stayed on the same track with Illusion, then your dumb. Im sorry but they have made better. They experiment with their music every album because if they put out an album just like Illusion every year it would be disappointing and it would start to get boring. I love every one of there albums. Thrice is one of my favorite bands and from what i heard of this new album, its going to be just as good as their other stuff
    korbhag
    I'll admit it's not an album you can listen to from start to finish, but any of those songs would fit quite well in a Thrice playlist with sings off every other album. And that is exactly what they were aiming for, since the felt they needed softer songs for their live setlists.
    kid jesus
    not my favorite thrice record ever, but a damn good one. and i really wish people would shut up with all the 'you're not a true thrice fan' bullshit.
    airognolwehttam
    This review is stupid, Thrice has always made great records and this is, in my opinion, if not the best one of the best records they've released. Dustins voice is awesome and the instruments may not be the hardest things to play but they're still good.
    the boogieman
    oth_17 wrote: this album is nonsense. just like alchemy and vheissu. this non screaming/experimental garbage just doesnt do it for me. this type of music isnt what caught my ear and got me interested in them. i dont understand this unbreakable allegiance that some people have with bands. the truth of the matter is that bands do change and when they want to "evolve", they should change their name to something else and start over. its misleading. your gonna tell me that their artist in the ambulance album is worse than alchemy and beggars? no its not, its uber awesome. afi did it with december underground, atreyu did it with that last piece of trash they released, and trivium did it with the crusade. therre are countless other bands that have "evolved" into garbage. if i wanted to hear garbage like this id listen to three o three!
    sums up my thoughts as well with the except i kinda dug vheissu but yea, old thrice or gtfo